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Maruti Suzuki Alto 800 Review & Performance

OVERVIEW

If you do a simple random sampling of a group of Indians who know how to drive, chances are a majority of them would have learnt driving on an Alto. Ever since Maruti Suzuki first launched it in September 2000, as many as 30 lakh units of this entry-level hatchback have been cumulatively sold in the country. The car’s unique selling points have been its remarkable fuel efficiency, peppy engine, attractive price and low maintenance. Add to that Maruti’s countrywide sales network—you can practically buy an Alto even if you live in the remotest town in India!. Alto 800 On road price starts from2,60,377/-  Check for price details of Alto 800 in CarzPrice.

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Yet another reason for its success is that the Alto has been evolving to reflect the changing India. Over the years, Maruti has been arming it with just the right features a buyer looks for in an entry-level car, and subtle but timely design updates; these have been appealing to customers.

EXTERIORS

The styling of the Maruti Alto 800 looks far from impressive. The old Alto looked cute even thought it has been around for more than a decade. With the Alto 800, Maruti Suzuki has just tried to bring styling from the Japanese Alto and the A-Star, which doesn’t give the Alto 800 an identity of its own. The Alto 800 has very compact dimensions and the company has added new bits to make the vehicle look modern. A new and lighter roof has been added with corrugations to boost stability. New outside rear view mirror has been picked up from the Alto K10 but its shocking too see no left side rear view mirror as standard. The door handles are body colored but the rear view mirror is not. The full wheel caps look good and the wheel arches are slightly flared too. The increased height and high ground clearance makes the Alto 800 look odd. The Alto 800 is thus, no match for the well styled Hyundai Eon. The conservative styling doesn’t appeal much and the Alto 800 ends up looking very disproportionvate.

INTERIORS

Things are quite different on the inside. You now get a dark grey tone for the dashboard and new upholstery on the door pads and seats. The front seats are decent in comfort while frontal visibility is also excellent. The Alto gets a basic audio system, front power windows, power steering and AC. The AC has good performance and it fared nicely in our hot weather. With the facelift, the Alto 800 now gets a standard left hand side mirror, child locks at the rear and an optional driver-side airbag. At the rear, you have good head room while leg room is also pretty decent thanks to the thin front seats. Shoulder space is decent but fitting 3 passengers at the rear could be a problem. However, the seats are lacking in terms of under-thigh support. You also feel a bit claustrophobic due to the small window area. The rear seats now come with integrated head rests. The rear doors finally get child locks now. There is a bottle header in front of the gear lever which can hold a 1-litre bottle. There is also a small storage area above the glovebox. The boot is pretty compact at 177-litres

SPECIFICATIONS OF ENGINE

Mechanically, the new 2016 Alto 800 remain unchangeds. This means that powering the refreshed Alto 800 is the tried and tested Suzuki F8D 796 cc, three-cylinder engine that comes mated to a 5 speed manual gearbox. This motor pumps out a max. power of 47.65 PS @ 6,000 rpm and a peak torque of 69 Nm @ 3500 rpm. The Alto is available in both Petrol and CNG avatars. Maruti could give the engine an ECU remap to further optimize the fuel mileage. As we said, the Diesel model of the Alto 800 won’t be launched anytime soon. However, powering the Diesel Alto will be a 800 cc, twin-cylinder engine that has a maximum power of 47.5 PS and peak torque of 120 Nm.

DRIVING .

The Alto 800 has a feedback rich steering though it feels a bit heavy at crawling speeds. However, the steering is very direct and despite being such a small car, the Alto is quite fun to drive. Thanks to its small footprint, you can easily drive it around and tackling too much traffic doesn’t get easier than this. The ride is very flat at low speeds and it tends to get uncomfortable when you hit broken or uneven surfaces at even moderately high speeds. The car remains decently stable at high speeds but it’d be best if it is driven below 90 km/hr. The body feels very light and the super thin tyres have questionable grip levels.

CONCLUSION

Maruti Suzuki hasn’t made many changes to the Alto 800, which is essentially the Alto in fresh clothing, with slight upgrades here and there. What this results in, is a much better Alto overall but is it enough considering this is the first facelift to the Alto in 12-years. While Maruti Suzuki’s brand name is more than enough to keep the Alto’s sales flying high, we were hoping for a vastly improved Alto to compete with the likes of the Hyundai Eon. However, the changes to the Alto are more than welcome and the refreshed exteriors, new dashboard, marginally more space, slightly more eager engine and better quality of plastics is enough to justify the Rs. 30,000/- price hike which is expected on the new Alto

Maruti Suzuki Celerio Engine & Performance

Maruti Suzuki Celerio Overview

Maruti’s small cars are always much-awaited and come pre-loaded with market-shaking potential. It is, however, true that after the Swift, there hasn’t been a hatchback from Maruti-Suzuki that has really rocked the passenger car market.But, the next small car from Maruti – the Celerio, due out at the Auto Expo next week, looks like it can disrupt the market.The Celerio has been developed from the ground up on a completely new platform and has been endowed with a special automatic gearbox that Maruti officials believe with revolutionise the way we drive. The design of the Celerio is based on the A-Wind concept that Suzuki showcased at the Thai Auto show.This new hatch has been built to fit into and complement Maruti’s portfolio of small cars, but it is also meant to take on new competitors in the segment such as the Hyundai Grand i10. The Celerio is just a bit smaller than the Grand i10 in terms of length and width, but matches the wheelbase and is even a bit taller than the latter. Maruti Suzuki Celerio On road price starts from 4,29,489/-. Check for price details of Celerio in CarzPrice.

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Maruti Suzuki Celerio Exteriors

After the Swift, we’d say that the Celerio is the car that brings a fresh new face to Maruti Suzuki. Large curved headlamps, a twin-slat bonnet grille in chrome and an over-sized airdam below give the Celerio aggressive front looks. At the sides, the two parallel lines – tornado and the body side lines are prominent and lightly curved. The shoulder line has been set a bit high, but does not compromise the amount of light pouring into the cabin. The interior of the Celerio is quite airy, unlike the dark rear seat of the A-Star.

The rear of the Celerio features a simpler design, with a fairly straight-forward hatch door and the tail-lamps looking vaguely like they have been carried forward from the new Alto 800, though with a different combination. Overall, the design of the Celerio’s body panels seems to have been done with a dual-purpose in mind – to achieve a low co-efficient of drag for better aerodynamics and to ensure lower manufacturing costs. Open the door and they are fairly thin, in terms of width, including the plastic panels inside. But, they close with an assuring ‘thunk’.

Maruti Suzuki Celerio Interiors

The cabin of the Celerio is very Maruti-like in its excessive use of plastic. But, thankfully the quality of plastic used redeems it from seeming too tacky. The dashboard layout is quite modern and pleasing. There is also considerable symmetry to the features of the dashboard. The gear-shift stick is positioned at the base of the centre stack within easy reach for the driver in both the manual and the automatic variants.

The three-spoke steering wheel is healthy to hold and feels like it to belongs to in the premium hatch category. But, the seat squabs are thin and feel like they may not be the most comfortable during long journeys. There are a number of storage options including cup-holders. The luggage space in the boot is about 235 litres – above average for the segment.

The Celerio’s cabin feels surprisingly spacious for a car of its dimensions. There is considerable legroom at the rear bench and since the centre tunnel is not very tall, even the third passenger in the middle should be quite comfortable. There is enough shoulder room too, which hasn’t been compromised by the lesser overall width of the car. Depending on the variant, you can also get features like steering mounted controls, music system with Bluetooth connectivity, 14-inch alloy wheels and keyless entry.

Maruti Suzuki Celerio Performance

The Celerio is being offered only with a petrol engine, though there are rumours already that Maruti Suzuki has developed a small, diesel engine in-house for use in the car. The same may be showcased at the Expo and potentially make it to showrooms late this year or early next year.

The engine that the Celerio will be launched with is the same one-litre K 10B engine that is currently available in the A-Star, Alto K10 and the Wagon-R. The engine is being offered in the same state of tune too. (See the Tech Spec box for more info.)

The story of the Celerio is actually inside the bonnet, but if the engine is a carry over, then what is different?

It is the new automatic gearbox that Maruti and Suzuki engineers have developed specially for the car, and which promises to be frugal both in terms of costs and in terms of fuel consumption. The new EZ Drive auto gear shift promises to do just that shift the gears on your behalf and it is a unique solution that is going to lead to a lot of clones cropping up amongst competitors. (Read more about it in the adjoining story).

The Celerio drives like a perfect city car. For an engine in this class, there is enough power and torque available on tap for all sorts of urban driving conditions and some more for the average highway cycle. The car is also offered with a 5-speed manual gearbox.

Maruti Suzuki Celerio Driving

The biggest plus point about the Maruti Celerio is indeed how easy it is to drive. Piloting the car in congested traffic is effortless, more so if you are driving the model equipped with the automatic gear shift. Ride quality is very good, more so at low speeds as the suspension is on the softer side with the tyres running a high profile. Ride quality can get a bit messy at the rear as speeds build up, more so on really bad roads where the complete vehicle rattles a bit. Steering has no feel, while it’s light at low speeds, it simply doesn’t weigh up at high speeds. The EPS unit has little feedback to offer.

Small cars can be quite fun to throw around corners but the low grip tyres don’t help the Celerio’s cause. Yes the Celerio handles quite well and is very stable at speed but it somehow isn’t as agile as the Honda Brio, a car with which it will rub shoulders in India. Lack of ABS on the Auto Gear Shift model isn’t understandable at all, nor is ABS only being offered as part of an option on the ZXi trim digestible. This comes from a manufacturer who offers ABS as an option on mid-level variants of the Ritz and Swift while making it standard on all diesel trims of the Ertiga. Braking performance is decent but the pedal could offer better feel.

Maruti Suzuki Celerio Price

Maruti Suzuki Celerio Ex-Showroom Price in India ranges from 4,29,489/- (Celerio LXI) to 5,48,773/- (Celerio ZXI AMT Optional). Get best offers for Maruti Suzuki Celerio from Maruti Suzuki Dealers in India

Maruti Suzuki Celerio Verdict

The Maruti Celerio is an improved product, compared to the A-Star whose direct replacement it is. However it isn’t a vastly improved product which makes you question why the manufacturer did not go the long haul in taking a car which bombed so miserly, to the next level. The regular manual version of the Celerio doesn’t appeal much with the EZ Drive model being the only saving grace here. By using the intelligent and cost effective option, Maruti Suzuki will offer the cheapest automatic car in India in the Celerio. Although very jerky, the ease of driving offered by the Auto Gear Shift in the Celerio is sure to appeal to those on a budget. Being a Maruti Suzuki with a vast dealership network and aggressive pricing (for the lower trims), the Celerio is bound to be a success. However if you want a manual hatchback at this price point, there are better options.

The Maruti Celerio is a jack of some trades but master of none. Maruti continues to cut corners on several fronts and sadly safety is at the forefront of this exercise. The Celerio’s Auto Gear Shift is the only reason worth considering the vehicle.